As you can imagine, I get a lot of mileage out of posting “Helmet Camera” videos on The Fire Critic. Likewise, decent video from “buffs”, citizens, and news agencies are also very good for traffic. Ultimately, I want to put articles on FireCritic.com that people want to see.
Over the years, there are some things that aren’t being done that can really add to the enjoyment of the viewer. Much of this falls on the lap of the person taking the video. Below are some “best practices” when recording and uploading fireground video. Some of these suggestions were offered by others on The Fire Critic on Facebook.
Feel free to add your two cents in the comments!
Helmet Camera Video
- Get a good camera. I recommend anything by Fire Cam (http://FireVideo.net). I personally use the Mini HD. It is light, compact, and easy to use.
- Make sure your memory card is empty and your battery is full. I missed recording a recent fire because the memory card was full.
- Do a couple of test runs to ensure the camera is placed correctly on your helmet. I wear mine above the brim of the helmet. You don’t want your video being taken at an angle.
- DO NOT let it get in the way of doing the job. You are firefighters…not videographers. Start recording on the way to the call and forget about it.
- When possible, add the dispatch audio (radio traffic) to the recording.
- Be sure that you follow your department policy on helmet cameras and social media usage.
- Not everything you record is meant for general consumption.
Fire Buffs and Fireground Videographers
- For those using handheld or fixed-position cameras, don’t jump and pan around constantly… Find a good shot and stick with it. Hurky-jerky video makes it very difficult to see tactics and how well they’re working. If I can see the attack going in, ventilation happening and then change in the smoke behavior elsewhere, that’s very educational.
- Make sure the video is being taken right side up and not sideways or at a 90 degree angle.
- Be sure to realize that when you are recording video, it is also recording audio. Be careful what you say when recording.
- Add a description to the video. Who was there, what happened, Where it occurred: Department/City/State/Country.
- A link to the home departments webpage, facebook page etc, and information on the poster, if not a dept run page.
- To add a URL (hyperlink) be sure to include the http://www.website.com. Youtube will automatically turn this into a hyperlink and whenever someone copies and pastes it the hyperlink will follow. HINT HINT…I copy and paste…If you don’t have the hyperlink, you are missing out on traffic!
- Some people love music, some don’t. Add dispatch audio (radio traffic) when possible.
- Maybe a reminder for the “YouTube Safety Officers” to look at the video from the perspective of learning something and not finding fault with the operation. I know some of these video make us want to ask WTF are they doing but there is usually something we can learn from them.
- If there is a “close call” in the video, it would be nice to have text at the end of the video indicating whether the FF was injured, is okay, etc. Often the comments are filled with ‘hope the FF is okay’ or ‘did the FF survive’ and the like. Checking out the comments after some of the videos might also be a good place to find out what people at large want.
- Make sure you allow others to embed your videos.
- The more information in the description, the better off you will be.
- Share the video with web sites you want your video shared on.
- Make sure your video title has enough information in it that others will find it when searching.
- Tag your video with information about the fire, the department, etc.
- Share your video with me via email, FB message, or carrier pigeon!